Fantasy dramas when translated well, truly cast a magical spell on its viewers. Fortunately, we have a sizable chunk of these stories in Hollywood. And to that prestigious group belongs the Matthew Vaughn 2007 directorial Stardust. Based on the book penned by award-winning writer Neil Gaiman, Stardust pays a wonderful homage to its source material.
Stardust boasts of a stellar cast with names like Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole and Michelle Pfeiffer attached to the ambitious project. Not only was the production done on a mega scale, with beautiful set pieces, but the execution of the narrative also matched pace. As the movie progressed you felt like you were reading an unputdownable book.
For the uninitiated, the storyline runs thus — In the fictional town of Great Britain, The Wall, a young man called Tristan hopes to win the heart of his crush Victoria. For this he ventures to offer her a star, and lo and behold, a star falls! Now all that our Tristan has to do is to capture it and bring it to his love. However, for this, he must enter the magical kingdom of Stormhold. And there’s another twist in the story — the star is actually a lovely woman by the name of Yvaine. A forbidden romance ensues against a melodramatic, humourous and slightly dark setting. What we next see on screen is these different elements of art interacting in a highly entertaining fashion.
What also pulled me to the film were some fantastic performances doled out by Claire Danes and Michelle Pfeiffer. Danes is one of those rare American actors who can pull off a British accent with conviction. And that she is a credible performer is only a bonus. One of my favourite scenes from the movie is a monologue delivered by her character when she realises that she has fallen for her captor. Gushing, wide-eyed and lovely, Danes is magnetic in the sequence (the solid writing helps too). A shout out to veteran actor Pfeiffer, who was cruel and charismatic as the witch obsessed with beauty, youth and power.
Hollywood Rewind: Red Eye | Notting Hill | Fargo | The Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
To sum things up, I will say this — translating a beloved piece of literature into a film has almost always resulted in disaster. However, Stardust is different. It not only faithfully adapts the text, but also manages to stand on its own two feet even after a decade of its release.
You can watch Stardust on YouTube and Netflix.
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